Observation of the sodium exosphere from mercury magnetospheric orbiter

Ichiro Yoshikawa, Hiromasa Nozawa, Shingo Kameda, Shouichi Okano, Hiroaki Misawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Mercury Sodium Atmosphere Spectral Imager (MSASI) in the BepiColombo mission will address a wealth of fundamental scientific questions pertaining to the Mercury's exosphere. Together, our measurements on the overall scale will provide ample new information on regolith-exosphere-magnetosphere coupling as well as new understanding of the dynamics governing the 'surface-bounded exosphere'. It arises quite clearly from ground-based observations that the regolith of Mercury releases a fraction of its content to the exosphere. Some processes are identified up to now as leading to this ejection, e.g., photon-stimulated desorption. These processes are associated with different energies of ejection and behaviors in different regions of Mercury's surface. Therefore, different types of population are born from the surface, depending on the processes. The MSASI measurements definitely can identify the release processes, how exospheric sodium is born from the regolith. MSASI/BepiColombo is the first and unique opportunity to study the formation, circulation, and maintenance of the surface-bounded exosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-663
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan 1


  • BepiColombo
  • Interferometer
  • Mercury exosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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